"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

Current Weather Info

Current Sun and Moon Info

Monday, November 07, 2011

... Public information statement...

A rapidly developing storm located about 600 miles southwest
of Shemya this afternoon will intensify into one of the
most severe Bering Sea storms on record as it moves northward
across the chukotsk peninsula Tuesday night. This storm
has the potential to produce widespread damage.

The storm will produce widespread winds of 40 to 55 mph
with higher gusts over the West Coast Tuesday night into
Wednesday evening. Strong west winds are expected to continue
over St Lawrence Island Wednesday night. Gusts to 70 mph can be
expected along the chukotsk peninsula and in areas near Kotzebue.
Winds of 60 to 75 mph are expected over St Lawrence Island and
the Bering Strait coast. Winds are expected to approach hurricane
force over the Chukchi Sea and northern Bering Sea. The strong
winds will generate seas to as high as 20 feet over the Chukchi
Sea... and to 15 to 25 feet over the northern Bering Sea.

The strong winds will push large amounts of water into Norton
Sound... raising sea levels to as high as 8 to 9 feet above normal
Tuesday night through Wednesday night. The high sea levels
combined with high waves will produce severe beach erosion and
major coastal flooding along the northern and Eastern Shores of
Norton Sound and along the Bering Strait coast. High water
levels will produce coastal flooding along the southern
shore of Norton Sound. Strong winds and wave action may push
ice in Norton Bay on shore.

Moderately elevated sea levels and high waves will cause
severe beach erosion and major coastal flooding along the
south and west facing coasts of St Lawrence Island Tuesday
through Wednesday night.

Along the Chukchi Sea coast from Cape Krusenstern northwest...
southeast winds gusting to a high as 70 mph will produce high
waves and some elevation of sea levels... resulting in severe
beach erosion and major coastal flooding. The Village of
Kivalina will be highly vulnerable to damage caused by
beach erosion and coastal flooding.

The storm will also produce significant snowfall and blizzard
conditions over almost all of the West Coast Tuesday night
and Wednesday. Snowfall amounts of as much as 14 inches
are expected along the southern Seward Peninsula coast and
in parts of the interior Seward Peninsula.

Again... this is an extremely dangerous and life threatening
storm which will be one of the worst on record over the Bering
Sea and the West Coast.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Number 11: Collect 5 new sand samples

I spent quite a bit of time on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan this summer. I collected 3 sand samples from our trip to the sand dunes at Silverlake. I collected 1 sand sample from near Montegue, MI when a few of us Alaskan teachers met up in Michigan. I collected 2 sand samples from Lake Erie.

The sand in the front right was collected by my friend Angie on her trip to Australia the summer. Usually my rule is that I only collect sand from places I've actually been, but I couldnt turn down the bright red sand that she was thoughtful enough to bring back for me. I looks like paprika :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Number 13: Visit a National Park or World Heritage Site

It just so happens that Christy lives in the heart of the Smokey Mountains, which is not only a National Park, but also a World Heritage Site! So, I guess I did both of these things all in one shot.

Christy and I hiked a small portion of the Appalachian Trail in the rain. It was a pretty strong electrical storm with thunder that roared. It felt like we were right up there with the thunder and lightening. It was a big scary for a few minutes!!!

Seems like my kinda place.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Number 12: Visit a friend I havent seen for over a year

Oh, my dear friend, Christy...

Christy moved from Bethel to North Carolina about three years ago (has it really been that long?) I finally made it to NC to see her this summer and what an amazing time we had!
I really spent a great deal of my time at Christy's laying in the hammock, reading, and enjoying the view. And what a splendid view it was!!!

Christy's garden was producing enough zucchini to allow us to throw some on the grill nearly every night. We had delicious meals off of the grill and it was wonderful.

The neighborhood was so amazing and Fontana Lake across the street was beautiful. I've decided that this is the place that I want to buy a house near Christy.

It's like paradise up in those Smokey Mountains and I want my piece of paradise. Not to mention...I hear the neighbors are nice :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Number 29: Be able to run or bike a half marathon

After only a few days in Indiana this summer, I discovered that Kassia owns a really nice bike. I decided to take it for a ride and got a little too far from home one night with Adam.

This little adventure led to the discovery of a bike trail. Further online research told me that this bike trail was about 12 miles one way from Highland, IN to Crown Pointe, IN. A couple mornings later, I got up early and made it my mission to ride the trail.

Here I am hot and sweaty in Crown Point. The trail was amazing and the ride was refreshing. It took about 50 minutes each way and I ended up back home before noon. And since the trail was 12 miles long, I actually almost did a whole marathon rather than a half. I know there's no marathon for bikes, but I'm happy with my accomplishment nonetheless.

I even saw a turtle crossing the bike trail. Good times.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Number 19: Clean up a section of town

In the spring, when the snow melts in Bethel and reveals all the trash underneath, we have a community Clean up, Green up. Every year, I tell myself to go out and clean a section of town, but somehow all of the responsibilities of wrapping up the end of the school year get in the way of that plan. This year, I finally did it! A couple of friends and I cleaned up the path that we like to walk on along the river. We got one big bag full of garbage off of the beautiful path.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Number 18: Try ear candles

Thanks to a little help from my friend, Erin, I finally tried ear candles. It was kind of a cool sensation, but really didnt do much as far as cleaning out ear wax. I had never heard of ear candles until about a year ago when Erin mentioned them during a spa night that we were prepping for. I said I would pick some up in Anchorage next time I went to town, but I could never find any until this year during spring break. I went to a store in Anchorage called Natural Pantry. I picked up a box of 12 and have several left, so if you want to give them a try, just let me know.

The huge flaming end piece did burn the bottom of my shower. Ooops. Next time I'll put some water in the bottom of the tub. We had to fan the smoke alarm in the apartment the whole time we were doing this. Good thing there were lots of people over to help :)

One more checked off the list.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 Ice Classic

I bought my tickets for the Kuskokwim Ice Classic yesterday. It has been really warm lately (although we're back down to zero today) and I think that the river is going to break early this year, so here are the dates that I choose...

May 2nd 1:01 pm
May 4th 11:06pm
May 5th 2:47am
May 6th 9:42 am
May 10th 4:11pm

To learn more about what the Ice Classic is all about, you can read my posts from 2008 here, 2009 here, and 2010 here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Number 23: Seriously look into (and possibly buy) a timeshare

For a long time, I have liked the idea of having a timeshare. I have been considering buying one for many years. I liked the idea of having a place to go on vacation once a year. I liked the idea of paying about the same amount for a resort that I would pay for a cheapo hotel. I liked the idea of having the timeshare to give as a gift. I liked the idea of travelling all over the world and always having a place to stay. I liked the idea of letting Avery using it. I liked the idea of owning my vacation and passing it on to my kids.

After some research into timeshares, I discovered that that's just it...I LIKED THE IDEA.

Once I got into the research, I discovered that the cost is not really worth it for me. First there's the cost of buying it, then there are the yearly maintenance fees that run around $1000 per year for the type of timeshare I was interested in. Some of them you couldnt even use every year, but you still had to pay the fees. Also, most timeshares lock you in to a specific week of the year and I dont want to be locked into vacationing the same week every year. I found out that it is difficult and a process to "share" your place with someone else. So that if I wanted to travel to some other timeshare for a week instead of going to mine, I would have to find someone who would trade there place with mine during the same week. Some timeshares made this a long drawn out ordeal, some just made it more expensive. I also found out that you generally dont own a timeshare indefinitely, you only own it for a certain number of years.

In the long run, I think it is better for me to do my travelling on my own time and under my own guidelines. I think a timeshare would be great for people who want to travel to the same spot for the same week every year, like a tradition type of thing, but that's not for me. I want to do things my way. So after some long thought, I decided that a timeshare is NOT for me. Which is kind of a bummer, because I really liked the idea of it. I almost feel like I've killed one of my own dreams.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Number 15: Find a good sourdough cookbook and try at least 5 recipes

I finally bought this book after weeks of holding my friend and neighbor's book hostage. I also bought a second book and have made several of the recipes out of it, but we'll focus on this one. Last time I was in Anchorage, I picked up about 7 different kinds of flours so that I could try my hand at baking various types of bread.

Here are the recipes that I have made out of this book so far...
Caraway Rye Bread
Cheese Onion Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Nut Bread
Cranberry Nut Sourdough
French Bread 1
Herb Bread (white and rye)
Oatmeal Bread
Seven Grain Cereal Sourdough
Rosemary Bread
Whole Wheat Bread
English Muffins
Yukon Flapjacks

I have been baking all of my own bread for several months now. I cant even remember the last time I bought a loaf of bread, but it was probably before Christmas. I've been getting better at it and I generally bake about 4 loaves per week. In fact, there are two loaves of French Bread in the oven now. I think the next one to try will be the Malt Beer Bread. Oh yes, I said Malt Beer Bread. Or maybe the Sunflower Bread or the Banana Batter Bread.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Numbers 9 and 21

This past weekend, on April 2nd, there was a 9K Human Powered Race that was hosted by a teacher in the village of Kasigluk. Participants could run, walk, ski, snowshoe, bike, or basically complete the race anyway they wanted as long as their mode of completion was powered only by them. I choose to walk/jog (waog). In the end, I think I walked about half and jogged about half. The race was alot of fun and the turnout was great with about 20 or so people showing up. The race gave those of us in Bethel an excuse to go out to visit some of the other villages. We left from Bethel on Saturday morning and arrived in Kasigluk at around 1pm.
After the long ride to Kasigluk, one of the first things that I needed to do was use the restroom. The race host, Kyle, lives in a housing unit in Kasigluk that has an incineration toilet. I finally got to use one. This was a strange treat...something that not many people can say that they've done. The incineration toilet is a step up from the honeybucket that villages used for a long time. The honeybucket was just a bucket that people did their business in and then had to take out an dump in a designated area when it was full. The incineration toilet is a toilet that burns the waste right there in the bottom of the toilet. It is interesting and shocking to some people that there still are places in the U.S. that still dont have running water. Something to think about and appreciate next time you are feeling like life is dealing you a bad hand.
The 9K that we raced was a triangle between three villages that are close together. The race started in Kasigluk-Akula, then went to Nunapichuk, then to Kasigluk-Akiuk, then back to Kasigluk-Akula. The picture above shows the first leg of the race to Nunapichuk. On the way to Nunap, the wind was in our faces and it was strong. I walked alot during this first section.
The picture above shows the second leg of the race to Kasigluk-Akiuk. During this part of the race, the wind was at my back so I ran alot more and made pretty good time. The trail was clearly marked with pieces of bushes. We just followed the bushes most of the way. Below shows the third leg of the race to Kasigluk-Akula. The village is split into two sides because the original village (the Akiuk side) is sinking. People started moving their homes to higher ground on the other side of the river (the Akula side) because they were worried about the sinking. Later they discovered that it was not sinking as fast as they originally anticipated so the movement to the other side of the river slowed down. Eventually all Kasigluk residents will need to move over to the Akula side, but for now the village is divided.
We had the intention of camping out on the tundra after the race, but as you can see in the last two pictures, the wind continued to pick up and eventually was had an all out winter blizzard on our hands. Some other friends from Bethel tried once to head back to Bethel, but turned around and decided to wait out the storm. They ended up leaving a few hours later. We ended up spending the night on the Akiuk side at a fellow teachers house. We had a huge dinner with lots of food and lots of good company. It was a fun weekend and I feel great about waoging that 9K. My foot barely hurt at all the next day! It's so good to finally be healed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Number 31: Try cross country skiing

On Thursday, I tried cross country skiing for the first time ever. It was a perfect day for outdoor activity, although the snow was a little more crusty than I think would be preferable for skiing. My friends, Chris and Erin, took me out and lent me a pair of skis. They were patient with teaching me the ropes and watching me fall down.
The sun was shining brightly in the clear, crisp sky. It was about 20 degrees, which is a nice temp for a spring day here in Alaska. Because the sun is up now until about 9pm, we have many hours after work to go out and enjoy the day. It the picture above you can see the evening jet in the distance coming in for a landing over Bethel.
Then some more friends lent me skis and took me out for a night ski. It was a really great time. The original plan was for moonlit skiing under the super full moon that was happening this month, but the sky was overcast so we skied by headlamp instead. There were 7 people and two dogs along for the ride. I only fell down once this time, but earned myself some pretty intense blisters from the boots that I borrowed. I'm still debating whether I like cross country skiing enough to invest in the equipment. It's definitely a nice way to get out and get in some exercise. Number 31 on the birthday list is done.

Numbers 1,8,9,12,14,15,18,21,23,25,27, and 29 are all in progress as we speak.

Number 5: Update my photo albums

Since 1999, I have kept a photo album for every year. It used to be really easy back in the days of film. I would get a roll of film developed in 4X6 glossy and slide the pictures in order into a photo album. This way my photos were always accessible and organized. Since I've gotten a digital camera, this task has gotten more difficult. Now I have to sort through all my photos, upload them to a photo printing site (I use Snapfish), then have them printed and shipped. The last time that I had taken the time to have any of my photos printed was the summer of 2009.

I've been working on sorting the photos and uploading for a couple of months, but really wanted to wait until I could finish 2010 before I placed the order. The shipping costs are the about a third of the cost so I figure I might as well just ship as many at once as possible. I ended up printing about 900 photos for about $85, plus shipping which was another $35 or so. I had the second half of 2009 to finish and all of 2010. I also printed many extra photos to share with other people, put in frames, or add to Avery's school memories book. As of now, the photo albums are caught up, but of course they're still 2011 to get around to.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Number 16: Cook Paella from Scratch

paella |päˈāyä; pəˈelə|


a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, etc., cooked and served in a large shallow pan.

Each region of Spain has their own unique version of paella. When I lived in Spain during the summer of 2002, I lived in the Valencia region and paella was one of my favorite foods. It is cooked in a huge pan and meant to feed many people. So when I decided to try my hand at cooking paella, I knew I wanted to try to find a recipe similar to the paella that I knew and loved from the Valencia region of Spain. Paella requires some very specific ingredients, so I made a list and went shopping while I was in Anchorage over spring break. Since the clams were live, I had to cook the paella the very next day to prevent them from dying. So I spend a Sunday cooking up paella and halibut tacos, then invited some friends over to enjoy the feast. The paella turned out great and tasted just like I remember it. I just cooked it in the oven, but other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe. The most difficult thing to buy for making the dish was actually the paella pan itself. Now that I have it, I can cook it up whenever I want as long as I can get my hands on the ingredients. Here's the recipe and here's to crossing number 16 of the new birthday list...

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella is probably the most famous and popular Spanish dish around the world. It originates in Valencia, a region on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, between Barcelona and Murcia that is known for its rice dishes. There are as many versions of paella as there are cooks in Spain!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 105 minutes


· 1 yellow onion, diced

· 2 medium tomatoes, diced

· 1 whole chicken or 8 chicken drumsticks

· 1 1/2 lbs pork loin (fat trimmed), cut into ¾ inch pieces

· 1/2 lb calamar (squid) cleaned and sliced into rings

· Medium grain or "pearl" rice *

· 4-6 cups chicken broth

· 1 large pinch Saffron

· 1 1/2 lbs raw mussels in shell (frozen or fresh)

· 1 lb small clams (frozen or fresh)

· 1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp, medium or large - shell on

· 1 red pepper seeded and sliced

· 1 10 oz. pkg frozen peas

· Olive Oil, Salt to Taste


* The exact quantity of rice will depend on the size of the pan, so have at least 1 lb of rice on hand.

If you prefer to use a step-by-step recipe with photos, Seafood Paella Step-by-Step Recipe.

This seafood paella recipe makes approximately 12 servings.

Before you start preparing paella, it's best to check you have all ingredients and gather the equipment that you'll need.

· 17 inch (144cm) paella pan

· Round charcoal BBQ

· Medium sauce pan

· Sharp knife for chopping meat and vegetables

· Meat cleaver (if you use a whole chicken)

· Aluminum Foil or Large Tea Towel to Cover Paella

Cut the Chicken and Pork into Serving-Size Pieces - You'll need one whole chicken, cut into serving-size pieces or 8 chicken drumsticks. If you use a whole chicken, use a meat cleaver to cut the chicken into pieces small enough to easily mix while sautéing.

With a sharp knife, cut the pork into 3/4" pieces.

Clean the squid and remove the tentacles. Make sure to remove the innards and the "spine" and discard. Then, cut the squid into rings.

Tip: Try to buy fresh squid whenever possible. If fresh squid is not available, look for packages of squid in the frozen food section. The squid should NOT have batter or coating on them, since that type is used for frying.

Slice red pepper and chop onions and tomatoes, set aside.

Now that you have the ingredients cleaned and chopped, it's time to start the BBQ and begin cooking. When the coals on the BBQ are covered in white ash, cooking can begin.

Assemble all the ingredients on a table near the BBQ, so that you can stay in the area and monitor the cooking.

Place the paella pan on the grate and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and allow the pan to heat up. When hot enough, sauté the onions and tomatoes in the olive oil. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly – about 15 minutes. Add pork and squid and cook, stirring often.

Add the rice, sprinkling in the form of a large cross on the pan. (Have approximately 1 lb of rice on hand for this.) Stir for 2-3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil and mix with the other ingredients.

Add saffron threads to the chicken broth and stir. Slowly pour broth into pan until pan contents are covered. Spread ingredients evenly over bottom of pan.

Arrange mussels around outside edge of pan, pointing up. Place clams and shrimp in pan, distributing them evenly around the pan. Add slices of pepper on top.

Allow to simmer, cooking rice. Add more broth if necessary. (If fire becomes too hot, raise the pan up, away from the heat.) When rice is almost cooked, sprinkle peas over the pan.

When rice is cooked, remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil or large tea towel, allowing paella to “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Slice lemons into wedges and serve.

[blockquote shade=grur]Guide's Response to User Reviews
The exact quantity of rice depends on the pan and number of people you are serving, so it is best to be prepared and have at least 1 lb of rice on hand.

Lisa & Tony Sierra, Your Guides to Spanish Food

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

21 done, 9 to go

Since my birthday is tomorrow, I took the opportunity today to cross number 29 off the Birthday List. Avery took me pull-boarding for my birthday.
Pull boarding is where you get pulled around by a snowmachine while riding a snow board. We had a fun time and I only fell a couple of times. Avery is pretty good at it because he does it all the time with his friends.

It was nice to spend some time doing something fun with Avery.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas in Paris: 20 done, 10 to go

The view out of our hotel room the first night. It was Christmas Eve and the snow was swirling all around us.

We drove up to the north of France on Christmas day and stayed two night in a castle in Sedan. The next day we drove over to Belgium just because we were so close. We bought lots of chocolate, ate mussles, and walked around the quaint little town.

This was our castle.

Notre Dame in Reims was surprisingly more grand and impressive than Notre Dame in Paris. But it was very cold inside so we did not stay long as my gma couldnt handle the cold.

The hall down the side of the church.

Some of the stained glass had a very modern feel to it.

Nan and I under the rose window. She was cold.

Denette and I walking down the streets of Paris with our baguette just like all the other French people.
The Garnier Opera house in Paris. We saw the bartered bride.

The artwork on the ceiling of the opera house.

The hall of mirrors at Versailles.

The outside gate of Versailles after the lights came on.

Napoleon's apartments at the Louvre museum.

The glass pyramid entrance at the Louvre.

Nan and I with the Venus de Milo.

The street that our apartment in Paris was on.

Statue on top of the opera house.

Rose window on the front the Notre Dame in Paris.

The rose window from the inside.

The Eiffel Tower between two lamp posts. I feel in love with all the lamp posts.

Sun shining through the tower.

The back of Notre Dame in Paris.

Nan and I in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Ornate bridge.

Christmas lights in front of the mall.

Nan being serenaded by an accordion player.

City hall.

Notre Dame of Paris at night.

A beautiful stroll by the river Siene.

The river was flooded due to the snow so I couldnt walk down next to it.

The city streets all decorated for the holidays.

The arch at the end of our street.

The street we lived on.

The Arch De Triomphe.

View of the Effiel Tower from the Arch.
News stand.

Sacre Coure.

The gargoyles.

Inside Sacre Coure.

Entrance to the metro, which I learned how to use pretty effectively.

Notre Dame and the city by night.

Number 1 on the birthday list is done...vacation in another country. Christmas in Paris, what more can a girl ask for?